A New Mathematical Modelling of Crystallization in Microgravity Project at MACSI

Last year, MACSI in collaboration with SSPC, SFI Research Centre for Pharmaceuticals at the University of Limerick announced its partnership with Varda Space Industries in the US.

Pharmaceutical compounds often crystallize in two or more forms, called polymorphs.  If only one of the polymorphs has desirable medicinal effects, then there are substantial benefits to controlling the ratio of polymorphs produced during a crystallization procedure.  Previous experiments suggest that polymorphic ratio can be controlled by changing the strength of gravity, and Varda Space Industries intend to exploit this by crystallizing pharmaceutical compounds during spaceflight on satellites.

MACSI’s role in the project is to develop a mathematical modelling framework to describe the dynamics of nucleation, crystal growth and phase transformation in pharmaceutical systems.  The goal is to gain a better understanding of 1) what role gravity plays in polymorphism, and 2) why crystallization in microgravity leads to a change in polymorphic ratio.

The modelling approach will be to develop first-principles models to describe the important processes driving crystallization behaviour. These models will be deterministic in nature and are likely to consist of ordinary and partial differential equations for the variables of interest. The models will be initially analyzed using dimensional analysis and asymptotic methods to determine which mechanisms impact polymorphic crystallization in the parameter ranges of interest. Subsequently, the full or reduced models will be solved numerically in software such as MATLAB or COMSOL Multiphysics to allow validation against available experimental data. Validated models can be used to gain process understanding and simulate specific conditions.

Your role: We are looking a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Mathematical Modelling of Crystallization in Microgravity, who will develop and analyse the mathematical models described above, in close collaboration with Varda Space Industries and academic supervisors Prof. Michael Vynnycky, Dr Kevin Moroney and Dr Doireann O’Kiely.   The successful candidate will be based at the Mathematics Applications Consortium for Science and Industry (MACSI) at the University of Limerick and will have experimental support from Varda in the form of data collected both on Earth and during space flight.

Full details: https://ul.ie/hrvacancies
Job ID: 057888
Closing Date: 15 March 2023

For more information please contact: Prof. Michael Vynnycky, Dr. Doireann O’Kiely, Dr. Kevin Moroney

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